The Spinoff Bulgaria initiative was created by the Health and Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria, the Artificial Intelligence Cluster Bulgaria, Venrize – spinoff factory and ISTEB.

We aim to create a sustainable spin-off ecosystem and culture in Bulgaria and Europe by connecting national stakeholders with international partners. We will present best practices, insights from universities, investors, governments, corporations and relevant industry experts, and funding opportunities from European organisations. 

AIM: To stimulate interest in spinoff creation, promote knowledge exchange and engage with government, business, academia and investors.

GOAL 2030: Bulgaria to produce 100 homegrown spinoffs and become a powerhouse of innovation in Europe.

Within the event, content is planned to encourage companies to enter into consortia and closer collaboration with universities and existing scientific infrastructure.

Premium Partners: SECURUS Strategic Trade Solutions / VERBUND

Platinum partners: Invest Sofia Agency / Cleantech Bulgaria / EIT Manufacturing South East / BioHub Group / Vangavis

Gold partners: Ministry of Education and Science / Horizon Europe Cluster 1: Health / Fund of funds / European Climate pact

Regional partners: MEDIC-NEST META-CLUSTER IN PRECISION MEDICINE / Imago-Mol Cluster / HealthTech Investor Summit 

Strategic partners: United States Department of State Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) / Flanders Investment & Trade  / Micar21 / America for Bulgaria Foundation / Cluster of Microelectronics and Industrial Electronics Systems / EuropaBio / European AI Forum / Technical University of Sofia / SPIN-OFF AUSTRIA INITIATIVE / Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria / Valentin Savov & Partners / Google Developer Groups (GDG) Plovdiv

Support by: Innaxe / VELES 

Founders / Organisers: Health and Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria / Venrize Spinoff Factory / AI Cluster Bulgaria / ISTEB

Water Partners: Devin

Coffee Partner: Martines Coffe

20 June 2024 - Day 1


8:30 - 9:00 Morning coffee and sign-in

9:00 - 9:15 Opening Keynote: Founders of the initiative: Kristina Eskenazi, Paulina Chortova, Kaloyan Ratchev, Dimitar Dimitrov 

8:30 - 13:00 Workshop: Protecting Innovation by Managing Technology Proliferation Risk (only for registered Bulgarian and Romanian organisations)

Powered by: United States Department Of State Bureau Of International Security And Nonproliferation Office Of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR)

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 - 14:30 Opening Keynote: Founders of the initiative: Kristina Eskenazi, Paulina Chortova, Kaloyan Ratchev, Dimitar Dimitrov 

14:30 - 14:45 - KeyNote: Sarah Ackerman, Ph.D., PMP, Program ManagerProgram Manager at U.S. Department of State

14:45 - 15:30 -  Funding the Future: Investor Insights into Spinoff Opportunities

Moderator: Pavel Lisev - Executive director and Member of the Management Board of the Fund of Funds


15:30 - 16:10 - HTIS24 - SEE Champions in Medtech (pitch decks)

Moderator: Kaloyan Ratchev

16:10 - 17:30 Presenting the winners from the SPREAD2INNO, Powered by: Clean Tech Bulgaria

Moderator: Kaloyan Ratchev

17:30 - 18:00 Presenting the winners from the "Science for the Future" competition, organised by America for Bulgaria Foundation

Moderator: Kristina Eskenazi

18:00 - 18:30 - Ceremony Spinoff of the Year

18:30 22:30 - Spinoff Party


Room 2: Green Room

Workshop: Horizon Europe, Cluster Health

Registration is required HERE

Agenda: Part 1 (issued in Bulgarian)

14:00 - 14:30 - Registration

14:30 - 14:40 - Welcome and opening

14:40 - 15:00 - Horizon Europe strategic plan 2025-2027

15:00 - 15:20 Topics: Topic 1 HORIZON-HLTH-2024-DISEASE-13-01 Presentation, Topic 2 HORIZON-HLTH-2024-CARE-14-01 Presentation, Topic 3 HORIZON-HLTH-2024-DISEASE-12-01 Presentation 

15:20 - 15:40 - National Contact Points and Q&A

15:40: 16:10 - Coffee break

Part 2 (issued in English)

16:10 -16:30 - Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) presentation 

16:30 - 16:50 - Q&A

16:50 - 17:10 - The role of artificial intelligence and data protection in project work.

17:10 - 17:30 - Q&A 


Room 3: Red Room

14:00 -14:30 Workshop: SPREAD2INNO Module 1: Business Angels and Venture Capitalists (led by European Business Angels Network – the Pan-European representative for the early-stage investor community gathering over 100 member organisations in more than 50 countries.)

14:30 - 15:00 Workshop: SPREAD2INNO Module 2: EU Funds (led by TESEAS - a research and consulting company based in Italy that provides services for industries, commercial companies, private individuals and public administration.)

15:00 - 16:00 VIP Close Meeting: European Health Insitute (invitation only)

16:00 - 17:00 Workshop topic: Harnessing Emerging technologies – AI, next-gen tech to accelerate innovations deployment With Nikolay Chotrov

29 September 2023 - Day 2


10:00 - 10:30 Opening Keynote: Founders of the initiative: Kristina Eskenazi, Paulina Chortova, Kaloyan Ratchev, Dimitar Dimitrov 

Official Guest Speaker (Senior Government Stakeholders)

10:30 - 10:45 - Keynote 1: Svetlin Penkov- Chair of AI Cluster Bulgaria, CEO of Efemerai

10:45 - 11:45 - Panel 1: Spinoffs in Focus: Perspectives from European Policymakers

Moderator: Kristina Eskenazi


11:45 - 12:00 - Keynote 2: Dario Zoric, Regional digitalisation lead, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

12:00 - 12:45 - Panel 2: INNAXE: Navigating the European Spin-off Ecosystem

12:45 - 13:00 - Keynote 3: Johan Lecocq, International Relations Manager at MEDVIA.

How clusters and international cluster collaboration can support start-ups and scale-ups to grow?

13:00 - 13:10 Project VELES with Irena Pavlova - European Projects Manager at GATE Institute for Big Data and Artificial Intelligence at Sofia University.

13:10 - 14:30 - Lunch

14:30 - 14:45 - Keynote 4: EIT Manufacturing § South East Region: Services and Funding Opportunities with Dr. Nikos Panopoulos is the Strategic Projects Manager at EIT Manufacturing South-East Europe

14:45 - 15:00 - Keynote 5: Addressing ESG challenges in alignment with the EU Climate Pact for business growth and sustainability with Mariyana Hamanova, Executive Director of Cleantech Bulgaria

15:00 - 15:45 Panel 3: Exploring growth paths and opportunities for startups/spinoffs

Powered: CleanTech Bulgaria

Moderator: Mariyana Hamanova, Executive Director of Cleantech Bulgaria

15:45 - 16:00 Coffee break

16:00 - 16:15 Keynote 6: Dr Hamish McAlpine - Director for Policy & Engagement at Oxentia

16:15 - 16:30 - Keynote 7: Ass. prof. Dimitar Nikolov - Assoc. Professor Dimitar Nikolov - SMIES, AI Cluster Bulgaria, TU Sofia

16:30 - 17:30 - Panel 4: Semiconductor Horizons: Navigating the Future with the Chips Act

Moderator: Assoc. Professor Dimitar Nikolov - SMIES, AI Cluster Bulgaria, TU Sofia

17:30 - 17:45 - Closing remarks


Room 2: Green Room

10:45 - 11:05 Keynote - Werner Wutscher: Spin-offs - the Driver of Innovation in Europe - an Austrian Perspective

11:05 - 12:00 Kickoff: Spinoff Danube Alliance - Developing a spinoff ecosystem in the Danube region

14:30 - 15:00  Corporation's Strategy for Innovation and Spinoff Ventures

15:00 - 16:00 From Lab to Market: TTOs Leading the Charge in Academia Spinoff Ventures

Insights & Best Practices from Bulgarian and International TTOs and Sciencepreneurs


Room 3: Red Room

10:30 - 11:00 Workshop: SPREAD2INNO Module 3: Business model (led by Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology - carrying out applied research and development in the fields of future-oriented technologies for the production process in factories.)

11:00 - 12:00  Workshop: EIT Manufacturing programs and funding calls: AI in Manufacturing

Lector: Dr. Nikos Panopoulos is the Strategic Projects Manager at EIT Manufacturing South-East Europe

12:30 - 13:00 Workshop: SPREAD2INNO Module 4: European Innovation Ecosystems (led by MINDS&SPARKS - an independent, non-profit research organisation based in Vienna, Austria fostering science, innovation and technology to address major challenges and develop new methods and solutions for a better society.)

14:30 - 14:50 - Workshop: Exploring Dual-Usage Technologies 

Lector: Vassil Karaivanov - Chairman of the Sofia Tech Park 

14:50 - 15:30 Shaping Public Health: Prioritizing Prevention and Early Detection Efforts in Bulgaria (issued in Bulgarian language only)

15:30 - 16:30 - Panel Discussion: Female Founders Evolution





Only projects that have successfully passed at least the second stage of technological readiness according to the internationally accepted scale for evaluating the maturity of a newly created technology (Technology Readiness Levels) will be evaluated, and work has begun on the third stage - proof of concept in the experimental environment.

Innovation Areas: Applicant need to propose activities in biotechnology, health, food tech, semiconductors/chips,  artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and VR&AR.

Evaluation criteria:

The expected results of the project need to be clear, measurable, realistic, bound to a specific period and be a logical consequence of the planned activities.

Apply HERE!

A spinoff is an entity, formed as a separate and independent enterprise from an existing organisation, which holds novel value and new strategic purpose. Spinoffs often come from academia, corporates, government and healthcare.

Spinoffs are the bedrock of economic growth and innovation. They create jobs, unlock private capital, stimulate R&D and adoption of innovation. One prominent example of a spinoff powerhouse is the UK, with 1,500 spinoffs in the last 10 years, which created 6000 jobs and £11b of capital raised.

Some prominent clusters such as Oxford, generated 200 spinoffs since 2011 which unlocked £2.4 billion of private capital. The famous ‘Golden Triangle’ produces over 100 spinoffs every year. Moreover, a spinoff on average has 50% higher valuation at seed stage than a non-spinoff company.

A Spinoff innovation can be created and developed via a number of different models. These models are applicable at different stages of the innovation cycle. They share similar purposes and characteristics but vary by strategy, execution and organisational context.


AI Cluster Bulgaria

Health & Life Sciences Cluster

Venrize Ltd.


Become a partner

General Partner

Amount: 5000 € 

Gold Partner

Amount: 2500 € 

Contact us for more information: 

Silver Parner

Amount: 1500 € 

Contact us for more information: 

Check out previous events of the Spinoff Initiative

Speakers in 2022

Kristina Eskenazi
Chairwoman of Health & Life Sciences Cluster, Founder of AI Cluster Bulgaria
Dimitar DimitrovChairman of Health & Life Sciences Cluster, AI Cluster Bulgaria, Founder of Venrize & Micar21
Kaloyan Ratchev
AI Cluster Bulgaria, Founder of Venrize Ltd and Vangavis
Boyko Takov
Executive Director Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency 
Hristo Etropolsky
Director Marketing and investment services at InvestBulgaria Agency 

Vesna Baltina

Deputy Mayor of the Burgas Municipality

Iva Marinova
Senior expert from the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency

Zoya Stoyanova
Senior expert Strategic planning, Digitalization & Sustainable development, Burgas Municipality

Dobrinka Blagova
Director, Digitalisation, Innovation & Investment Directorate (Innovative Sofia), Sofia Municipality

Viktor Goussev
Sofia Investment Agency

Dennis Weiss
Investment & Organisation Manager at Spinoff Austria

Prof. Nikolai Zhelev
CSO Venrize, Prof. - University Of Dundee

Ass. Professor
dr. Costin Lianu
General Manager USH Pro Business, Spiru Haret University

Antonio Giordano
president of SHRO

Dr. Tanja Sovic
Head of Patent & Licence Management, TU Vienna

Maria Todorova
Director for Policy and Analyses at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth

Ivailo Ivanov

Founder Institute

Stoyan Yordanov

Postdoctoral Researcher at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, BTI

Andreas Maier

Founder of Industry Association Digital Bulgaria

Ivan Mihaylov

Chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Innovative Technologies (BRAIT)

Prof. Dr.
Viktoria Sarafian
Medical University 

of Plovdiv

Assoc. prof. Svilen Kunev, PhD
Assistant professor - University of Ruse

Krasimir Tonchev
AI Cluster Bulgaria, Technical University Sofia

Georgi Georgiev
American University in Bulgaria

Juan R. Garcia, MBA
Managing Partner at the BBI Business School

Prof. DSc
George Todorov
Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Technology (FIT) - Technical University Sofia

Jeannette Gorzala
IP Law Austria

Prof. Dr. Vladia Borisova
President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

Fabian Lim
Senior Executive, Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation. Imperial College London

Neli Poprelkova
Law Firm
Tzvetkova & Partners

Kamen Slavov
Member of The Board of Directors of Fund of Funds in Bulgaria (FMFIB)

Vladimir Tomov
President of BCCI Investment Council, Member of the Board of BCCI

Alper Celen
Enhance Ventures

Angel Angelov
Managing Partner at Innovation Capital

Eva Maydell
MEP, European Parliament

Tsvetelina Penkova
MEP, European Parliament

Thomas Hellebrand
Health policy lead, DIGITALEUROPE

Albena Kuyumdzhieva
European Innovation Council EIC

Yumer Kodjayumer
Ministry of Education and Science

Daniela Tchonkova
EEN-Bulgaria Coordinator, Programme Manager at Applied Research and Communications Fund

Diane Nevin
CEO of GRIT (Grit International Female Accelerator)

Elena Nikolova
Community Manager of CEO Angels Club

Alexandra Velkova
Atlas Agro

Maya Milanova
Managing Director at Flow Logic

Assoc. Prof. PhD Agata Manolova
Technical University of Sofia

Rumyana Grozeva
European Digital Innovation Hub Zagore

Mariana Hamanova
Director of 

CleanTech Bulgaria

Svetlana Boyanova
Director of AgroHub

Svetlin Iliev
Director of Trakia Digital Innovation Hub

Todor Mladenov
Executive Director at Sofia Tech Park JSC

Prof. Ilia Iliev
Director Centre of Technologies Plovdiv University, PERIMED

Evgeni Ivanov
Head of Technology Transfer Center QUASAR

Prof. Sotir Sotirov PhD
Prof. Assen Zlatarov University

Denitsa Tsekova
Chairman of the Managing Board of IIRDE 

Teodora Jilkova
Consulting Cluster Veritas, International Relations & Business Development

Prof. George Angelov
Chair of Cluster of Microelectronics, Technical University Sofia

Petko Georgiev
Chairman of Southeast Digital Innovation Hub

Assoc. prof. Dimitar Nikolov
Technical University Sofia

Clemens Wasner
ADRA, Member of European AI Forum

Andy Bleaden
Communities  Director ECHAlliance

Montse Daban
Vice President of CEBR, Biocat, BioRegion of Catalonia, INNAXE

Maria Pournari
Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED, Larissa)

Benjamin Talin
MoreThanDigital International

Daniel Cosnita
President of the Romanian Cluster Association, Co-chairs of EEN Thematic Group on Clusters

Emil Shekerdzhiiski


Networking Premium Spaces 

Husein Yemendzhiev


Dimitar Mitev